Emily Moss set up a group in Petersfield after graduating, to connect with other osteopaths for CPD and work opportunities.
Connecting with osteopaths and other health professionals is central to the new CPD scheme, particularly for learning with others, objective activities and Peer Discussion Reviews. Joining a regional or local group can be a good way to connect and network.
When starting out as a newly qualified, self-employed osteopath, Emily Moss, took the initiative to reach out to other osteopaths in Petersfield, Hampshire, and surrounding areas to sound them out about starting a new group. She talked to us about how she went about setting up the group, and the resulting benefits.
So, what made you decide to set up a group in the first place?
It was just over two years ago, soon after I graduated from what was then the Surrey Institute of Osteopathic Medicine (now Nescot), in Epsom with a BSc(Hons). I was starting out as a self-employed osteopath by renting rooms, which meant I wasn’t working with a clinic full of other practitioners.
So I wanted to get to know some other osteopaths in the area for cheaper CPD, to share knowledge and potentially get some locum work from it. The name of the group can fluctuate but usually, we’re the Petersfield Osteopaths Networking Group (the acronym is quite tongue-in-cheek!)
How did you get started?
I googled osteopaths in my area, found email addresses and sent a mass email out asking if they would be interested. Once I’d got some interest from about nine people, I arranged an introductory meeting over a meal at a restaurant. I then got a better idea of the best timings for organising future meetings.
What are the key aims of the group?
The overall aim is to share knowledge and to provide cheaper, more accessible and regular CPD options. Plus the opportunity to get good referrals for patients in different areas and for specialities. And the social aspect to reduce the isolation of being self-employed is also important.
How is the membership growing?
I haven’t been publicising the group as such as I wanted to keep it small, accessible and as cheap as possible, while also keeping the organisation involved at a manageable level for me. Osteopaths in the group can invite others that might be interested though and we currently have around 15 members.
How is the group organised on an ongoing basis?
I am generally the central organiser. There’s a regular interval for meetings – usually, we hold them every third Thursday evening of every third month. I send a ‘round robin’ email after each meeting to summarise what was discussed and telling people the date for the next meeting. I then send another email out closer to the time of the next meeting, to remind people and let them know the location and topic. We share hosting the meetings at our clinics. We also keep in touch via email and Facebook and an app for coordinating events, chats and news. Topics for the meetings are decided by a mixture of members making requests for particular topics; current news, eg GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation); and pot luck! We’ve had a Clinical Practice talk about consent and communication; a vascular surgeon speaker; and we’ve also talked about case histories, mindfulness and other topics. For future meetings, we are planning to cover women’s health and pelvic floor exercises, and we are in the process of arranging talks about the new CPD scheme.
What do you think the main benefits have been so far?
I personally have ended up working as a locum, working with a couple of the osteopaths in the group. We have also had people team up in their clinics and referrals have been made between members, and participants have shared other CPD events of interest. We’ve saved money by keeping the group in the local area with minimal travel costs. The only additional costs are for social dinners (we had a Christmas social) and speakers at meetings, which are shared between attendees – there’s no membership fee.
Any other tips to share with others thinking of setting up a group?
It’s always a big hit to have food and drink at meetings! Having a central organiser has worked quite well but if everybody in the group is good with technology and on Facebook, a shared calendar or event has been quite helpful for reminders and keeping track of attendance for meetings. If you’re thinking of trying to connect more with other osteopaths in your areas, don’t be afraid to just put yourself out there, even the social aspect is invaluable.